25th A.G.M.

25th A.G.M. …..19.2.14…..John Slater

The 25th AGM of the trust will be unforgettable in so many ways! To be celebrating a quarter of a century together was remarkable in itself. To help mark the occasion, Dr Patricia Tutt opened the evening with a power point presentation of her remarkable new book, An Introduction to the Architecture of the Isle of Man. Colour photographs of both interiors and exteriors of a whole range of Manx buildings plus impressively researched text is an absolute ‘must have’. It skilfully meets the needs of an academic, the interested enthusiast as well as gracing any coffee table. Available in bookshops now!

Not for the first time, we were treated to a technological battle royal between computer, projector and anxious speaker. Luckily, I had plenty of material for the large audience, particularly an overview of the new programme. We owe a great debt to all our speakers over so many wonderful years. Our grateful thanks to them all!

With the help of Mike O’Neill, the Centenary Centre’s resident genius, the screen was filled with an absorbing procession of fine buildings, gardens and grounds. Many are only glimpsed through trees or seen briefly from the air. If only the public might have the opportunity of enjoying them from time to time. Houses such as Milntown and the Grove are so enjoyed.  Pat’s book helps to show us what we are missing, particularly when you see the quality of some of the interiors.

We began with Balladoole, Arbory. This gorgeous house had been gifted to the family by Lady Derby, along with the Calf of Man. That’s what I call a gift! A granary, dated 1800 had been used as a school at one time. Then on to Scarlett House with an interesting outbuilding dated 1717 graced with built in hens’ nest boxes. We saw a flax  retting pond close to the house. Flax was once an important Manx crop.

Kirby at Braddan showed the marked separation of ‘upstairs, downstairs.’ The servants’ approach lane is sunken between banks so that the family and guests are spared looking at them! 

Next on our tour was Kentraugh, Rushen. We admired the interiors with wonderful plasterwork and a magnificent music room with a vaulted, gothic ceiling. Milntown can easily be visited so do take that opportunity. Next, to Crogga, my own favourite setting. Lovely woodland and bluebells enhanced by not just one but two steam railways, one private, a lake and boating as well. Heaven!

Apparently, Braddan has suffered over time so straight on to Glen Mooar at St Johns c. 1820. The hall and corridor has superb Minton tiles normally protected by a carpet but illustrated in the book.

Government House, Onchan, the Nunnery, 1823 and Lorne House, Castletown were all admired when came the second unforgettable event. A member of the audience rose to their feet, tripped on the stepped aisle, fell, was partially caught and then lay silent on the floor. Two of our medical members tended to them, we dialled 999, a paramedic arrived in moments followed by the ambulance. The speed of response and level of care was fantastic. Luckily, the patient came-to in the theatre, otherwise I had a clergy member on hand should he be needed. To my relief, the patient rang me next morning – a viral attack!

I had to cut Pat short, so please come back another time!

With a bit of quick thinking, we diverted the audience to refreshments and then into the Atholl Room, fortunately empty, to set up for an instant AGM. Well over fifty members took part in a splendid meeting reviewing the highly successful year and setting course for another. 

Future events:  Saturday, 15th March, 2.00 pm at the Manx Museum – a tour of the 1st World War exhibition by Matthew Richardson, himself. This is a privilege not to be missed. Then, the 19th March, 7.30 pm in the Centenary Centre – Andrew Johnson with an illustrated talk, Traditional Buildings of Man. Non – members are always welcome.